Niland’s Cafe Reopens Under New Management Post-2020 Shutdowns


COLO, Iowa — Niland’s Cafe had served the community for nearly 70 years in the town of Colo when it closed back in 2018.

A year later, the city helped give it new management and new life, but then came the shutdowns of 2020. After a second hiatus, the historic eatery has new owners, the Wilsons, who opened their doors for the first time on May 14th and say they are trying to keep up with the crowds.

“Umm, chaotic,” said Abe Wilson, the co-owner of Niland’s Cafe.

“I don’t mean that negatively. We absolutely love it. We just can’t make our rounds to everybody, but it’s just, and everyone has just been very forgiving. They just love that we’re opened. Everybody has been wonderful.”

Initially, the couple wanted to open the cafe late last year, but 2020’s shutdowns halted their plans.

“I think with having the restrictions of the capacity, we’re small, to begin with, and we only have ten our eleven tables and half capacity it’s not really feasible enough to stay open,” said co-owner Danny Wilson.

However, Story County Officials say more businesses are either reopening or opening the area post-2020. County officials believe it’s a mix between renewed energy and people getting vaccinated.

“We’re seeing a lot of energy. We’re seeing a lot of positive growth all around us,” said Latifah Faisal, Story County Board of Supervisors.

The President and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce, Dan Cohan, agree with Faisal. Still, he believes with more businesses starting to make a comeback post-2020, their most significant demand is hiring.

“There’s an optimism that once people are vaccinated and a high level of comfort that businesses around central Iowa will be somewhat overwhelmed by the response.”

Although the Wilson’s felt overwhelmed by the crowds, they don’t regret opening doors after a year of shutdowns.

“We were scared to get started, but I’m glad we did,” said Danny Wilson.

Niland’s Cafe is open Fridays through Sundays.

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